Every week is a week of reflection, but the week between Christmas and New Year seems even more so . . encouraged a little by TV and web postings contemplating the past year and wondering how the world will look as a result of votes and actions which have real implications in 2017 (notably Brexit, US elections, Russia’s take-over of UN responsibility concerning Syria, Israel’s reaction to the UN resolution on settlements).

Having spent 10 days recently in Israel & Palestine, conspiracy stories of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian legitimacy, rights and dignity were quickly converted to a very vivid, and rather nasty, confirmation. One can only be amazed how the world’s ‘free’ press can actually ignore the extent of these grave realities. Prime Minister Netanyahu calls the UN resolution “shameful” – which does put into question what word would describe the long-standing, continual, Israeli actions against the Palestinians. The Obama administration’s response to having abstained (and thus “supported”) the UN resolution is so clear – that settlements make a two-state solution less and less possible and thus peace a highly unlikely outcome as well.

Without having gone there, it would be more difficult to imagine how “a few settlements” could be such a big deal. But 720 km of 9 meter high wall surrounding Palestinian homes, and separating Palestinians from their farms and schools – clearly forms a part of a wide harassment and annexation strategy which does not seem aimed toward a peaceful 2-state solution; or peace at all.

And Israel must cease hiding behind religion – thus claiming that opponents to their vicious strategy are “anti-Semitic”. Israeli strategy and actions have nothing to do  with religion; neither does most of the criticism against them.  Let’s get real.

Oh, and yes, almost forgot – 2017 is the Chinese “Year of the Rooster” – time to “wake up”!

What a catastrophe – the stakes, the process, and the resulting split society again.  Comments abound around the “non-United states of America”, or the “Yet-to-be United States of America” – and of course the closeness of the count which makes either candidate being elected makes the word “winning” a complete misnomer. What it does mean is a divided nation which had choice between a rock and a hard place – or to abstain (how can more than half the eligible voting population not vote?).  Many of us never expected the result, actually never understood how the candidate became one, and under the circumstances the people must have suffered a strong element of sheer desperation, or surrender to an erratic, yet simplistically exciting, rallying call.

The events of the USA and the UK indicate major disturbing shifts toward isolationism, protectionism – encouraged by populist and highly conservative politics, much of it hugely misleading propaganda.  One good thing so far from the USA is the intent to opt out of the trans-Pacific partnership TPP, which was pushing trade deals to favour multinational business rights over governmental sovereignty – actually other trade deals are guilty there also, so perhaps the new guy at the White House will do some good balancing in those areas. Maybe we will discover the silver lining – but I think rather E.P.N.S. * at best.
(* Electro-Plated Nickel Silver)